TURKEY: The purge widens
On 15 July 2016 elements of the Turkish armed force and police service launched a coup d'tat against the government of President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan. Despite initial appearances of a successful seizure of the government apparatus, the coup-plotters were eventually overwhelmed by loyalist forces. The government's response was wide-reaching and severe. Blaming the coup on Fethullah Glen, an influential Islamic cleric currently in exile in the U.S., the state launched a major crackdown on his perceived followers. Although the initial purge concentrated on the security forces with tens of thousands of bureaucrats and thousands of military officers arrested it quickly widened to all sectors, civilian, political and military. In particular, there is now a systemic threat facing businesses. In September 2016, the Turkish conglomerate Koza-pek Holding which includes mining companies and media assets had assets worth approximately TRY38.5 billion (USD10 billion) seized by the government over alleged links to Glen's movement. Although the size of the seizure is unparalleled, hundreds more businesses have been expropriated by the state on grounds of collaboration with the coup-plotters. A further major investigation is under way against Doan Holding, one of the largest conglomerates in the country, with a wide portfolio ranging from the energy to tourism sectors. On 5 January 2016 police raided the company's headquarters in the commercial capital Istanbul, claiming the action was in response to links between Do?an and Glen. It appears that ErdoÄan is using the coup to suppress any internal dissent. Doan controls several media sources which have been critical of ErdoÄan, such as the HÃ¼rriyet newspaper. The Turkish government has harassed the conglomerate before the event of 15 July, for example by restricting it from tendering for government contracts. A2 therefore assesses that the purge is being used as political cover by ErdoÄan to crack down on individuals and entities he perceives as being hostile towards him.
There is now a systemic threat facing businesses